Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain lies again

As The Associated Press reports, in the debate last night MCCain proposed what he called an "American Homeownership Resurgence Plan" saying,
It's my proposal. It's not Sen. Obama's proposal. It's not President Bush's proposal.
What McCain didn't mention is that according to the bill proposed by Bush and passed by congress last week the Treasury Secretary already has the authority to do exactly what McCain proposes. If there is a difference between McCain's proposal and Bush's it is that McCain would require that the Treasury Secretary use nearly half of the $700 billion authorized by Congress to buy existing individual mortgages rather than leaving it to the Treasury Secretary to determine how the money will be used to support the mortgage market. This seems like too much micro-management at too high a level. It also seems to be very much in conflict with McCain's notion that the government is interfering too much in people's lives.

For McCain suddenly to make such a proposal, however, is quite consistent with his tendency to pop-off and impulsively adopt positions that he hasn't spent much time thinking out.

Furthermore, this sort of support for individual homeowners has been one of the Democrats' favorite approaches for months. For example, (according to the same AP story)
At a news conference on Sept. 24, Obama said, "we should consider giving the government the authority to purchase mortgages directly instead of simply purchasing mortgage-backed securities."

Days later, in a news release, he said he would "encourage Treasury to study the option of buying individual mortgages like we did successfully in the 1930s."

"Senator Obama has been consistently calling for policies that would buy up mortgages and restructure them so that families can stay in their houses," Obama economic adviser Jason Furman said. "He continues to support that and believes Treasury should use its authority in whatever way it can to bring about that goal, including buying mortgages directly."
McCain also failed to mention that his "new" proposal conflicts directly with the position he took last March.
Drawing a sharp distinction between himself and the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused, saying that “it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”

Mr. McCain’s comments came a day after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York called for direct federal intervention to help affected homeowners, including a $30 billion fund for states and communities to assist those at risk of foreclosure. Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, has similarly called for greater federal involvement, including creation of a $10 billion relief package to prevent foreclosures. …

In place of large-scale government assistance, Mr. McCain recommended two immediate but limited measures. He said that accountants should meet to review the system by which real estate and related assets are valued, and he urged mortgage lenders to step forward voluntarily to help credit-worthy borrowers who may be strapped for cash at the moment. …

“He’s not only far behind what either Clinton or Obama have proposed, he’s six months behind what the administration has already been doing,” said Andrew Jakabovics, associate director for the Economic Mobility Program at the Center for American Progress, a Democrat-leaning research group in Washington. Mr. Jakabovics was an early champion of programs like those now being discussed by Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, to have the government either buy up or refinance millions of troubled loans.
In other words, not only is McCain simply coming around to an idea proposed by Democrats long ago, he is lying in claiming it is an original new idea on his part.

To be fair, perhaps McCain isn't lying; perhaps he's just out of touch and is having a hard time keeping up. After all, when Paulson issued his 3 page proposal a couple of weeks ago, McCain couldn't comment on it days later because he said he hadn't read it. If it takes McCain a week to read what is arguably the most important 3 pages having to do with the economy, the poor dear shouldn't be expected to keep up with the more general world of ideas.

After all, McCain seems to be living in the 1960s: he doesn't know how to use a computer, and he seems to think that we are still fighting the Vietnam war. If it was good enough for us then, why isn't it good enough for us now. (Perhaps someone should tell him we lost in Vietnam. Being a war hero normally means accomplishing something important. What did McCain accomplish in Vietnam by being a prisoner of war?)

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